E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia
Cassiope mertensiana (Bong.) G. Don Western Bell Heather (Mertens' moss-heather; Mertens' mountain-heather; western moss heather; white moss-heather; white mountain-heather) Ericaceae (Crowberry family)
General: Dwarf shrub, mat-forming; stems stiff, ascending, 5-30 cm tall, nearly completely concealed by the leaves, about 4 mm wide including appressed leaves, glabrous or finely hairy.
Leaves: Evergreen, opposite, distinctly in 4 rows, appressed, egg- to lance-shaped, 2-5 mm long, rounded on the back, grooved only at the extreme base, glabrous or fringed with minutely glandular tiny hairs or longer chaff-like, early deciduous, white hairs; unstalked.
Flowers: Solitary in leaf axils, usually several near the branch tips, nodding on glabrous or short-hairy stalks 5-30 mm long; corollas white, bell-shaped, 6-8 mm long, the lobes egg-shaped and about 1/3 the length of the tube; calyces reddish, egg-shaped, 2.5-3 mm long, entire to irregular-toothed; stamens not enlarged at the base.
Fruits: Capsules, nearly globe-shaped, about 4 mm wide.
Notes: BC material is var. mertensiana, although some is transitional to the more southern var. gracilis (Piper) C.L. Hitchc.
A very shade-intolerant, subalpine to alpine, Western North American evergreen shrub; distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in maritime to subcontinental alpine tundra and subalpine boreal climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-poor soils (Mor humus forms). Plentiful to abundant in heath communities on water-shedding sites; its occurrence decreases with increasing continentality. Associated with Barbilophozia floerkei, Cassiope stelleriana, Phyllodoce empetriformis, and Vaccinium deliciosum. An oxylophytic species characteristic of alpine communities
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-11-29 3:24:48 AM
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